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Pancham’s forte was his futuristic foresight

Friday, June 26, 2015
By Chaitanya Padukone

On the birth anniversary occasion of R D Burman on 27th June:
We said ‘cheers’ as rain-water fell in our glasses: recalls Shailendra Singh revealing the celebrated composer’s fun-loving flip-side 

“In recognition of his phenomenal contribution to Bollywood retro-music, legendary composer-singer R D Burman should be posthumously conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award” asserts senior singer-actor Shailendra Singh who was among the very few loyal close buddies of  Panchamda (RDB) who always stood by him, even during the sangeetkaar’s depressing, almost jobless, slump career phase.

Jogging into memory-lane, Shailendra, who has sung a string of evergreen RDB chartbusters such as ‘Humne Tumo Dekha’ (Khel Khel Mein) and ‘Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun’ ( Zamane Ko Dikhana Hain), ‘Jaane Do Naa’ (Saagar), feels that Pancham’s forte was his futuristic foresight to know what precisely would click with the audiences. “Which is why he could boldly experiment with weird sound-effects and  while singing, using rasp, grunt bass vocals as in the chartbuster song ‘Duniya Mein (Apna Desh). Recalls Shailendra, who was given his singing debut-break in ‘Bobby’ by showman Raj Kapoor,  “It was Panchamda who instantly connected with me at the star-studded musical RK muhurat. Impressed with my vocal talent, he  later got me on board to playback in ‘Khel Khel Mein’, which also had the legendary Kishore-da’s tracks,” reveals Singh who has sung a peppy playback ‘duet’ number with ‘diva’ actress Rekha ! “The song goes ‘Kal Toh Sunday Ki Chutti Hai’ (Agar Tum Na Hote). Since I had also acted as the hero opposite Rekha in this movie ‘Agreement’, I shared good vibes with her. But full credit goes to versatile melody-king Panchamda for discovering Rekha’s singing potential, ”shrugs the trained actor-singer who currently is also an instructor with Roshan Taneja’s academy.  According to ‘Shailu’ (that’s what the composer fondly called him)  his bonding with ‘fun-loving prankster RDB’ was so warm that they often had joint khaana-peena sessions.

“Way back in 1981, we were boozing in my car, returning home, while it rained heavily. When the soda-water got over, Pancham quipped ‘thrust your glass out and we will have it with pure rain-water’. That then was Pancham in his ‘true colours’,” he signs off.

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